Results focus for Pacific-wide meeting on NCDs
Monday, 21 June 2010

ImagePacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) now have initial funding and resources to make a difference on the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) affecting the region. How they are progressing will come under close scrutiny at a major regional conference in Fiji this week (from 21 to 23 June).

NCD staff from 22 countries will gather at the Tanoa Hotel in Nadi to review progress on efforts to reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and related risk factors of obesity, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol use.

NCDs are the leading cause of premature death in the region, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that they account for 75 per cent of deaths. Australia and New Zealand have contributed AUD 26 million to a programme of prevention and remedial activities within countries. The programme is managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and WHO.

The 70 participants at the Pacific NCD Forum 2010 will share their knowledge and experience, and provide updates on evidence-based practice in integrated prevention and control of NCDs.

The meeting will focus on building capacity in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of NCD interventions, and will provide an opportunity for network building, information sharing and collaboration between PICTs.

“This is the start of something bigger and better for the Pacific. It is now on the shoulders of countries themselves to take charge,” said Dr Viliami Puloka, head of SPC’s Healthy Pacific Lifestyle section.

WHO Representative in the South Pacific, Dr Chen Ken, said the forum will facilitate and support implementation of recent World Health Assembly Resolutions on NCDs. 
During the 63rd World Health Assembly in May, delegations from all member states reached consensus on a resolution to confront the harmful use of alcohol. A new resolution on 'Marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children' was also adopted.

Participants at the forum will hear about progress on national NCD plans, nutrition plans, salt reduction strategies, food security, health system strategies, funding, mortality, M&E and surveillance.

Key tools for M&E and surveillance are the STEPS surveys, large national randomized health surveys every seven or more years, and Mini-STEPS evaluation tool conducted in certain community/agency each year.

Any changes to indicators for key risk factors associated with the long-term challenge of NCDs will show up in the comparable data collected in these surveys over the next decade. 

A marketplace event at the forum will show what tools are available to assist countries in providing integrated NCD training, including on physical activity, nutrition, tobacco control and communications.


For more information, contact:
Richard Thomson, SPC
Renee Dodds, WHO
+679 323 4143


Photo caption: Working it out: Participants from 21 countries and territories at the Pacific Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Forum 2010 in Nadi, Fiji Islands limber up to a physical activity video during their meeting on Monday, 21 July.


Last Updated ( Monday, 21 June 2010 )